I come from a family of dreamers. When bidding on a full maple bedroom set at an auction in the seventies, my parents did not see the practical issue of cramming the entire bedroom set and 4 people home in a compact Chevy Vega. But where there’s a will there’s a way. With some rope and some laughs, not a part was lost. But despite my hauling experience, I often wonder how I’m going to fit all the groceries on my bike while I’m cashing out at the grocery store. Somehow I always manage but precarious plastic bags hanging all over the place is not a pretty sight. Enter my new, mean, elegant hauling machine – a cargo bike!

According to Dave Cohen’s article about the cargo bike revolution, cargo bikes have been around for a very long time. Sure, I’ve seen them in cities used for specific purposes, but it’s not something that comes to mind in hilly Vermont. Dave is trying to change that. It seemed like a practical solution for me. I don’t drive. But that doesn’t mean I don’t need to get stuff from point A to Point B, a lot. Just like when most people run errands, the distances are fairly short. My new Boda Boda cargo bike, made by Yuba, is a much more elegant and fun way to do what I need to do.

There are many brands and styles to choose from but this one fits my purpose. Its Cargo Bikestep through frame prevents any barriers of getting on and off quickly. And it has a huge versatile rack on the back. It’s versatile because you can put what you want on it according to what you want to haul, from kids to recyclables. I’ll greatly reduce the number of trips to the thrift shop every time I clean out my attic.

To test the waters, I headed to the hardware store to get a new laundry basket. I used my bungee cords to secure it to the back. It made a perfect carrier for the potted geraniums I bought as well. Ahhh… independence once again – I feel the same joy as when I purchased my first car.

My vision doesn’t stop here. This rig is perfect for around town and I could see taking it for very long road trips, if I lived in Nebraska. But I don’t, and the topography of Vermont could limit my fun and hauling radius. This bike can carry 220 pounds of cargo but can my legs power up the hill to my house after a spring trip to the garden center? I think I need a little help. Stay tuned as I purchase and install an electric bike conversion kit. With a motor, controller, sensors, and a battery, the conversion kit installation is over my head. My neighbor, who also doesn’t drive is intrigued and has agreed to help me. His perfect vision will come in handy. We’ll see if we are still friends when the rubber meets the road.

By Maurie Hill